Top qualifiers announced for Spark $100k Challenge

23 August 2010

13 teams of aspiring entrepreneurs are now a step closer to transforming their business ideas into reality.

The qualifiers for the 2010 Spark $100k Challenge were announced last week, in a ceremony that included a guest presentation by Greg Cross, Chairperson of business growth centre, The ICEHOUSE.

Mr Cross, co-founder of Spark alumnus company PowerbyProxi, praised the high standard of entries and provided some words of wisdom and encouragement, for all entrants.

"In New Zealand, we're good at being good, at a number of things. But in business, we need to learn to be great at a specific thing – we need to learn how to focus," said Mr Cross.

"Even though only a few could be chosen as qualifiers, each of the ideas that were submitted for this contest could easily be developed into a successful venture and that is a great positive, for New Zealand."

The qualifying teams were selected from a total of 65 entries, with submissions ranging from medical devices and weight-reducing alloys to ventures that seek to bring about social change, such as improving the diets of school children or improving the retail of fair trade products.

Each of the 13 teams are now part of the Spark Launch Pad Programme, which provides access to development workshops as well as business mentorship, valued at $5,000 - valuable assistance as the teams compete for prizes valued at over $50,000 which will include capital for the business and incubation at The ICEHOUSE.

All teams who entered the competition will be provided with feedback and advice that will provide motivation for them to develop their business venture ideas further.

Now in its eighth year of operation, Spark continues to grow from strength to strength, having spawned 66 start-up ventures thus far, with each comprised of students and staff members of The University of Auckland.

"We're a student-lead initiative, aiming to develop New Zealanders who strive to be innovative and entrepreneurial, by giving them the right encouragement and the right environment for their ideas to flourish," says Graeme Fielder, Spark CEO.

"The calibre of entries this year shows the positive work that Spark is doing and indicates that we're successfully carrying out our mission."

The grand winners of the Spark 2010 $100k Challenge will be announced in October.

For more information on the challenge, please visit the Spark website.